Brushing your teeth is one of the best ways to keep your teeth healthy, avoid tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. Unfortunately, many children and adults are brushing their teeth wrong, which could result in gum irritation and ineffective plaque removal. The following are tips and tricks to help increase the effectiveness of your morning and evening tooth brushing routine.
Keeping Your Toothbrush Too Long
Toothbrushes are only effective while the bristles are in good repair. Most toothbrushes are designed to last between three and four months. If you notice that your toothbrush has bent, discolored or has missing bristles, it’s time to open a new toothbrush. If you have a favorite brand or style of toothbrush, buy several when you go toothbrush shopping. Those fresh toothbrushes in your bathroom drawer are a good reminder to check the toothbrush you’re using now for signs that it’s time for a fresh one.
Not Brushing Long Enough
With today’s hectic schedules, you may be tempted to rush through your morning and evening oral hygiene routines, but brushing too quickly can leave food particles, plaque and bacteria in your mouth. In the morning, give yourself a little extra time to brush, floss, and rinse. Ideally, you want to spend at least three minutes brushing your teeth and gum line.
Make sure you floss between every tooth. Once you are done brushing and flossing, you can rinse with a little mouthwash for that extra fresh feeling. In the evening, brush your teeth for at least three minutes prior to going to bed. If you don’t floss in the morning, make it an evening habit.
Ignoring Your Gum Line
Bacteria and plaque can develop along your gum line. If you are only brushing your teeth, you are not fully protecting your oral health. When you brush your teeth, remember to tilt your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle along your gums and brush them. This helps remove food particles and plaque from slightly below your gum line.
Using the Wrong Bristle Strength
Toothbrush bristles generally come in soft, medium, and hard. Many people think that buying the stiffest bristles will result in the cleanest teeth and gums. Unfortunately, buying a toothbrush with firm bristles often results in cuts and abrasions.
Stiff bristles also do not bend, this means that they are not flexing to reach every surface, and they may not get under your gum line. Instead of buying a firm toothbrush, consider purchasing one with soft bristles that flex and clean all the crevices in your teeth and slightly below your gum line.
Brushing Too Hard
Brushing too hard can result in damage to your gums, whether you purchased a toothbrush with soft, medium, or firm bristles. When you brush your teeth, remember to use light pressure and focus on reaching every surface of your teeth, including the backs of your teeth. This will result in a cleaner and healthier mouth.
Not Altering How You Brush
When most people brush their teeth, they do it the same way every time out of habit. For example, you may brush your teeth starting at the top left and working your way around your mouth until you reach the bottom right teeth.
If you always brush your teeth the same way, you may not be brushing those last few teeth as well as your first few teeth. To make sure every tooth gets a good brushing, alter how you brush your teeth each time you brush.
Ignoring Dexterity Issues or Problems with Technique
People who have difficulty angling their toothbrushes and brushing their teeth in a circular motion may want to consider getting an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes rotate and vibrate the bristles so that all you have to worry about is getting the angle of the toothbrush correct.
Forgetting Your Tongue
Always remember to brush your tongue. Bacteria can hide on your tongue and contribute to bad breath. For super fresh breath and an improved clean feeling, brush the surface of your tongue after you brush your teeth.
Once you are finished brushing your teeth, always rinse all the toothpaste and food particles from the bristles of your brush and place it in a toothbrush holder that is vented so that it can dry. This will help keep the bristles in good condition and help limit bacteria growth on the brush.
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.